Les McMaster, Vice Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) and a director of Right to Repair South Africa, (R2RSA), a Section-21 not-for-profit organisation, says the final Right to Repair Guidelines published in December by the Competition Commission have distinct implications for consumers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and Aftermarket Workshops (referred to as independent service providers or ISPs). They also highlight the critical and urgent need for sharing of information and training.
What is the impact on motorists?
Motorists will be able to approach vehicle maintenance very differently this year, thanks to the Competition Commission’s lifting of restrictions pertaining to servicing and buying vehicle parts in December. Here’s what drivers can look forward to:
Freedom to shop around: OEMs are no longer able to bundle service or motor plans, along with other value-added products, as add-ons when motorists buy a car. Instead, these must now be presented as separate purchases, and the cost must be made clear to the consumer.
Freedom of choice during the warranty period: From now on, a warranty does not become void if a consumer opts to have their car repaired by an independent service provider; nor will the motorist be penalised if non-original parts or accessories are fitted. Linked to this, OEMs are not able to set a minimum retail price for spare parts, and they are not able to prevent a consumer from buying a value-added product when they purchase a new car from an approved dealer. This, ultimately, means that consumers can now buy value-added products wherever they like, including from independent or third-party providers, so long as the provider is licensed.
Insurance work: Motorists’ freedom to choose where they would like to have their car repaired is valid even for insurance claims. There is an onus on insurers to make this clear when settling a claim.
Access to technical information and training by Independent Service Providers: ISPs are entitled to access the same technical information, programming tools, training, and original spare parts, as OEM approved workshops, so long as they meet the OEMs accreditation requirements and standards. They must, furthermore, record all in-warranty work in the customers’ vehicle service book.
A full record of the guidelines put forward by the Competition Commission may be viewed here. MIWA is making every effort to ensure that our members are up to date with the changes that will follow the implementation of these guidelines in July and will therefore be publishing information on this topic regularly. We are sure many of you will have questions, especially around servicing a car that is still under warranty – please do not hesitate to send us these queries.